Golf: Etiquette boost as rules published in Chinese

China's golf boom has been in full swing for more than a decade but officials have finally moved to close a surprising loophole by translating the sport's rules into Chinese.

Now China's players and officials -- and its unruly fans -- can become experts in the sport's complex etiquette after the move by the China Golf Association (CGA) and rules body the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A).

Zhang Xiaoning, executive vice-president and general secretary of the CGA, called the move "crucial" as China transitions from rapidly growing upstart to a mainstay of the world game.

"Translating the rules into Chinese will help the Chinese fans to learn how to appreciate the sport and will also assist local clubs in training their members about world-accepted standards," he said, according to the China Daily.

"It's crucial for the game's healthy development in China."

China, which already has a crop of talented teens and multi-million dollar tournaments, adopted international rules in 2008, but Zhang admitted many amateurs and organisers were still hazy on the details.

China is also notorious for its fans, who are known for chatting and coughing during shots, snapping pictures on the backswing and even standing in front of players when they address the ball.

At an exhibition event last year between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, spectators stole balls from the driving range, and some were rugby-tackled by security guards as they invaded the fairways en masse.

David Rickman, head of rules and equipment standards at the R&A, said the regulations helped to make sure that all players conform to the same standards and etiquette.

"It helps to ensure that all golfers play by the rules, play by the etiquette of the game and, of course, very importantly the spirit of the game," Rickman was quoted as saying.

The rule book was launched at the Volvo China Open, where Ye Wocheng, 12, became the youngest player to appear at a European Tour event -- breaking the record of Guan Tianlang, 14, who made waves at last month's US Masters.